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Coronavirus Disease 2019 updates from Ballad Health and the Appalachian Highlands region

For more COVID-19 information, please visit our COVID-19 page.

Free COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccinations are available at your local pharmacy. Search for your closest COVID-19 vaccine location by visiting the CDC's vaccine finder.

Post-COVID care clinic

Ballad Health has launched the Center for Post-COVID Care to provide a full spectrum of services to patients struggling with post-COVID symptoms.

Learn more about our Center for Post-COVID Care.

Local updates

Aug. 26, 2021

Increase in regional COVID-19 cases leads Ballad Health to delay all elective surgical procedures, limit visitation to patients with COVID-19

An increase in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the Appalachian Highlands has prompted Ballad Health to postpone all elective and non-emergent surgeries, including already-scheduled procedures, effective Thursday, Aug. 26.

Jan. 29, 2021

Ballad Health to resume elective and non-emergent surgical procedures

Following the recommendation of our surgery sub-committee – consisting of physicians and leaders from throughout our system, representing a depth of specialties, markets and expertise – Ballad Health has made plans to resume elective surgeries at our facilities, with some procedures able to be scheduled starting Monday, February 1.

The decision to resume procedures was made so we can continue regular Ballad Health operations to the fullest possible extent, while still safeguarding our communities against the continued COVID-19 threat. During this time, we will carefully phase in new surgery procedures – increasing our scheduled elective procedures over the coming weeks.

Ballad Health will continue to monitor the situation to ensure we're meeting our patients' and providers' needs while moving forward. Thank you for your cooperation during this time. The decision to temporarily suspend elective and non-emergent surgical procedures for the second time during this pandemic was difficult, but it undoubtedly protected many patients, Ballad Health team members and physicians – setting them up for successful procedures now.

Jan. 21, 2021

With Changes in State of Tennessee Vaccination Program, Ballad Health to Cease New Vaccinations for the Public in Tennessee

Due to changes in the policy related to allocation and distribution of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines by the Tennessee Department of Health, Ballad Health is winding down its Tennessee-based community vaccination centers (CVCs) in Kingsport and Bristol.

The CVCs in Kingsport and Bristol will cease giving first doses of the vaccine on Saturday, Jan. 23, while its center in Johnson City will provide its final first dose on Friday, Jan. 22.

Dec. 20, 2020

Ballad Health issues reaction to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s address

Following Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s address to the people of Tennessee, Ballad Health has issued a statement:

“With coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases reaching deadly highs in the Appalachian Highlands, Ballad Health applauds the governor for communicating the gravity of the situation for Tennessee families, and for taking steps that have been shown to help mitigate the spread of what is a deadly and harmful virus.

Dec. 7, 2020

Non-emergency surgeries being postponed

Effective Monday, Dec. 7, Ballad Health will postpone all elective and non-emergent surgeries, including already-scheduled procedures.

This is a necessary move to preserve much-needed space and staffing due to the high volume of COVID-19 inpatients currently being treated and even higher inpatient volumes anticipated by year end if the current pandemic trend continues.

To determine which procedures are classified as non-emergent, we will follow the Elective Surgery Acuity Scale (ESAS), which was developed by St. Louis University and is recommended by the American College of Surgeons as hospitals and health systems respond to challenges posed by COVID-19.

Elective procedures will be paused for at least the next 30 days. At that point, we will reassess the pandemic’s spread and our staffing and resource capacity.

Oct. 23, 2020

Ballad Health issues statement on positive COVID-19 cases at Johnson City Medical Center

As of Friday, Oct. 23, 22 team members and six patients have tested positive for COVID-19. Positive team members are in isolation at their homes, and the affected patients have been isolated in a designated, closed COVID-19 unit within the facility. To date, the cases have been contained to a single progressive care unit at the hospital.

June 22, 2020

Ballad Health urges caution in COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizes the continued risks

Alan Levine, Ballad Health’s chairman and CEO, said caution is especially warranted now, during vacation season and as the Fourth of July holiday approaches. More than half of the new COVID-19 cases at Ballad Health have been related to travel, and popular vacation spots such as Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Florida are reporting enormous spikes in COVID-19 cases.

Large gatherings, including family events, parties and community functions, have an inherently higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. Ballad Health leaders emphasize an increased need for masking, hand hygiene and physical distancing in these instances. Read more about these continued COVID-19 risks.

Apr. 30, 2020

Expanded COVID-19 testing

Following Ballad Health’s rapid testing capabilities for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we have now expanded our testing options even further. Beginning today, April 30, we are making COVID-19 testing available to anyone who feels they need it, regardless of symptoms or potential exposure.

Community members who would like to be tested will need to call our Nurse Connect hotline at 833-822-5523.

Please note: There is a $52 charge for the tests and tests might become limited, due to increased testing we will begin on patients who are scheduled for elective surgeries.

Elective surgeries to resume

Ballad Health’s surgery sub-committee – a group comprised of physicians and leaders from throughout our system, representing a depth of specialties, markets and expertise – in conjunction with the state Economic Recovery Group, has made recommendations to begin resuming elective surgeries, with some procedures able to be scheduled for Monday, May 4.

We will take a careful, phased-in approach that was developed by our physician-led elective procedures taskforce, remaining remain mindful of our staffing, supplies and triage levels.

Apr. 22, 2020

Barbara Humphreys Birthing Center relocates to new Women’s and Newborn Center of Excellence at Indian Path

This move will help with near-term efforts to enhance capacity for responding to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, while also leading towards the establishment of a dedicated women’s and newborn hospital linked with regional high-acuity children’s services. Learn more about the new Humphreys Birthing Center.

Apr. 16, 2020

Ballad Health partners with Mayo Clinic for COVID-19 research

Ballad Health has announced a partnership with Mayo Clinic to conduct a national coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) research study, which will examine convalescent plasma as an experimental treatment. Read more about this plasma study.